Where are the nicest beaches?
Combined, Panama’s Pacific and Caribbean coastlines stretch for over 1,786 miles (2,857 km). There are good beaches on both sides of the isthmus, but we’ve boiled down some of the best and put them into the following list.
Guna Yala (San Blas Islands): A gorgeous white-sand beach composed of crushed seashells that is safe for both swimming and snorkeling. There is direct access for guests at Paradisus Playa Conchal or for day visitors by walking from the nearby Playa Brasilito.
Isla Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro: This island in the Bocas del Toro archipelago has the region’s nicest beaches, including Wizard Beach and Red Frog Beach. These golden-sand beaches are wide and backed by dense jungle. They also have decent snorkeling opportunities offshore.
Gulf of Chiriquí: The islands within the Gulf of Chiriquí are home to a wide range of stunning, uncrowded beaches. Some of the best are remote and take some effort to get to (i.e. 45-minute boat rides), but you’ll be rewarded with a scattering of small, lovely beaches lined by coconut palms.
Las Perlas Archipelago: This group of islands is a quick flight from Panama City. The islands offer travelers isolated white-sand beaches with excellent snorkeling and swimming conditions. The most developed island in the group, Contadora Island, has several beaches to choose from.
Playa Los Destiladeros, Playa Venado and Playa Cambutal, Azuero Peninsula: These beaches, which line the southern shores of the Azuero Peninsula, are the best and most accessible in region. Playa Destiladeros is wide and has brown sand, while Playa Venado and Playa Cambutal are surf-havens that are beginning to attract more widespread attention.
Isla Coiba: The centerpiece of a national park bearing the same name, Isla Coiba is massive and has a good scattering of deserted, white-sand beaches. It’s also the country’s best dive site.
Playa Farallón: This beach along the central Pacific coastline is one of Panama’s hottest new beach destinations. Sometimes referred to as Playa Blanca, this beach is wide, attractive and within two hours of Panama City. Those interested in upscale beach vacations can hit up the Decameron Resort, which lines a section of the shore.